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Advantage: Beane

The only person who believes there is a big market for Rafael Furcal appears to be Furcal. When seemingly every team was looking for a SS, no team wanted to risk a four-year deal. Then team after team settled its SS situation and word began to spread around the Hot Stove that the market for a 40HR guy like Dunn, and an established slugger like Burrell, was far softer than initially believed.

So at a time when few teams, instead of many, were vying for Furcal, and when Dunn's estimated FA value had been downgraded to about 50% of the first figures we heard, Billy Beane made an offer. And it really wasn't a lowball offer - it was a four-year deal for a 31-year old coming off of back surgery and it was for $9-10million/year. That's not low; maybe it's not what Furcal was hoping for but maybe Furcal's hopes are out of line with the actual market.

Because now Furcal is almost guaranteed to have to settle for fewer years or less total money - and possibly both. If no team was willing to offer him four years before, who will offer it now and for more money than Oakland has offered? Nobody has to. Even Oakland isn't committed to its offer any more, so there is no market for four years of Furcal's services. Someone might offer him 2-3 years at 10-11 million or someone might lowball him with a 4-year offer for 7-8 million. Heck, Oakland might make either offer at some point and come out better than it would have had Furcal accepted yesterday's offer.

So as usual, when the dust clears and you stand outside the cloud of disappointment over not having Furcal right now, and you see that lots of teams have settled for their second and third choices and you see that one player is still unemployed and seeing his stock fall man and one man only is holding all the right cards: Billy Beane. Sometimes it's better to have a vacancy instead of a solution, when you have money, supply and demand, and market trend squarely on your side.